Days after Vadodara Municipal Commissioner H S Patel asked for a factual report on Sanjaynagar — from where over 700 families were evicted — the developer has put up a site map marking the area meant for the rehabilitation of the 771 families. The site map also includes the private luxurious apartments and the Agora-2 mall. The VMC, which is examining the allegations of reclamation of the Vishwamitri river swamp by the builder, Balaji Construction, said it has not approved any site plan for Sanjaynagar.
On Tuesday, a sitemap of the proposed Sanjaynagar redevelopment under the Mukhyamantri Gruh Yojana (MGY) scheme, indicated the 4.27 lakh sq feet of land will house 22 MGY towers, nine luxurious towers and a mall overlooking the Mangal Pandey Road.
Earlier, in an Indian Express report highlighting the conflict in the project on January 8, Ashish Shah, chairman of Manav Infrastructure – the parent company of Balaji Construction — had said his group would construct 27 six-storey towers for the slum redevelopment and six 13-storey luxurious towers for private sale.
On Tuesday, Shah said, “We have submitted our site plan for the redevelopment of the slum apartments to the VMC for approval. We are in the process of finalising our plan for the development of the rest of the plot for private sale. Although we have announced the project, we have not yet taken any money from prospective buyers for the mall or the residential complex.” Shah said that although the company had initially planned to construct 27 six-storey towers to rehabilitate displaced people from 810 flats and 11 shops from Sanjaynagar slums, the plan had now been revised to 22 seven-storey towers and 11 shops, for maximum space utilisation. Incidentally, the hoardings advertising the mall and the “lifestyle river view” residential complex reads, “Pay 20 per cent now — 11 lakhs — and become owner of the property. 10% after one year and rest on possession.”
Town Planning Officer K L Patel said, “We have not granted any permission to the developer to construct apartments or a mall of any sort on the plot. In fact, so far, we have only received his proposed design for the slum redevelopment, which has been put up for scrutiny and approval. As of now, no part of the project has been approved and the conception of a mall on the existing plot, given the width of the road seems impractical.” Patel is part of the committee formed by Commissioner H S Patel to prepare the factual report of the conflict at the site.
The project has also run into controversy regarding the construction of a retention wall by reclaiming the land of the Vishwamitri River swamp that runs along the plot. Following a complaint by the Congress party, officers of the Mines and Geology department of the Vadodara District Collectorate examined the site, questioning the developer regarding permissions. While the officers refused to divulge any findings on Tuesday, they said they would “re-examine” the location to conclude if the developer can be held guilty for “reclaiming the swamp land”. An officer said, “We have examined the site with our gadgets that allow us to mark land areas through satellite images. However, we cannot reach a conclusion right now as we need to study the area once again.”
The VMC is already facing the public ire, with residents of colonies adjoining the Sanjaynagar land joining in a signature campaign against the civic body’s December 15 public notice to procure land for widening of the Mangal Pandey road from 18 to 27 metres, purportedly to benefit the building of the mall, which requires a minimum road width of 24 metres as per the existing GDCR guidelines.
Commissioner H S Patel said the factual report of the committee that consists of City engineer P M Patel and Alpesh Majmudar, Executive engineer of BSUP housing assistant engineer F J Charpot and Town Planning Officer K L Patel, will be ready by the weekend.